You want to find the company behind a website. Sometimes there will be an “About us” page – often there will be a footer at the bottom of the pages – and any ‘terms and conditions’ can also be useful.
What you are looking for is the official name of the company, and ideally a company registration number.
For our example www.clickandbuy.com the “About us” page includes a footer that mentions “ClickandBuy International Limited is authorised by the Financial Services Authority” and the terms and conditions include
the Service, is operated by ClickandBuy International Ltd (“Us” / “We” / “Our“), a company registered in England with company number 5661160
This means that we can check a UK company database:
- How to Research UK Company Data (posted June 2102)
For a non-UK company there is Orbis:
- Fame and Orbis for company identification (posted June 2012)
For quoted (public) companies there are additional options:
- Researching a global company using Bloomberg (posted Nov 2012)
- Researching a UK company – reports and data (posted Oct 2012)
- Company Financial Analysis (global companies) (posted Oct 2011)
For going from company to website, databases Fame and Orbis include a website variable.
You can try using the website name as a search variable in Fame, but the legal structure of companies can be complex. For example, search for “pizzaexpress.com” will give several results. The global ultimate owner (GUO) is GONDOLA INVESTMENTS LIMITED PARTNERSHIP INCORPORATED is whose subsidiaries PIZZAEXPRESS HOLDINGS LIMITED is the direct owner of PIZZAEXPRESS (FRANCHISES) LIMITED and PIZZAEXPRESS LIMITED is the direct owner of PIZZAEXPRESS (RESTAURANTS) LIMITED. [Fame database accesses 26 March 2013]
What resources are available for researching FirstGroup plc? (who among other things run many of the buses in north Manchester)
Free online resources:
- FirstGroup PLC company website – especially the investor relations section that gives the latest annual report (128 pages).
- Yahoo Finance UK, Google Finance UK,
Library subscribed resources:
- Marketline Company Profile FirstGroup plc from Business Source Premier – 24 pages including key facts, business description, history, key employees, revenue analysis, SWOT analysis
- GlobalData FirstGroup plc (FGP) – Financial and Strategic SWOT Analysis Review July 2012 – an analyst report from Thomson Research – 26 pages – About the company, Company Analysis (including SWOT), Company Financial Ratios, and details of GlobalData and their analysis methodology.
- Key Note Bus & Coach Operators Market Report 2012 from KeyNote – a market research report including a profile of FirstGroup as a key company. (Other KeyNote market reports include Rail Travel 2011 and KeyNote company information provides five years of company accounts.)
- 7 Economist articles (since 2001) and over 500 Financial Times articles – both from ABI/Inform (Proquest) .
- 10 years of FirstGroup accounts through Fame – a database based on accounts filed at UK Companies House with additional information on shareholders and subsidiaries.
In summary, the library subscribed resources provide access to reports that would be expensive to buy (investment analysts and market research reports) and databases that provide more flexible search and download facilities than free online resources.
If the above library resources are not enough, there are plenty more:
- Thomson Research has a total of 256 analyst reports on FirstGroup plc published in the last 2 years. These are valuable reports and not easily found with a google search – see Analysts reports on Thomson Research.
- Factiva has 2,176 news stories from the last 6 months – including over 100 from the Financial Times.
Dow Jones Company Report FirstGroup plc – from Factiva – 15 pages – company overview and financials (balance sheet, cash flow and income statement) for last 5 years.
- Thomson One Banker provides financial market information: overview, prices, financials, estimates, deals (e.g mergers and acquisitions), ownership and comparables.
- ORBIS is similar to Fame except that it covers the largest 230,000 companies worldwide (Fame is UK and Ireland only) so you can compare FirstGroup with similar companies worldwide.
- Bloomberg Professional provides financial market information and business news – the DES (description) function provides a brief overview report.
Manchester Business Answers 24/7 is our searchable database of Frequently Asked Questions.
You can explore what has been popular recently, or this time last year:
For April-June 2012, Fame was the highest new entrant on the popular search list so we updated the answer for:
FAME, from Bureau van Dijk, provides information on all UK and Irish registered companies. It covers public (quoted) and private companies: over 2.8 million active companies and 4.2 inactive companies on 05 June 2012.
Orbis, also from Bureau van Dijk, provides information on very large companies worldwide. It covers public (quoted) and private companies: 260,563 total, including 62,135 publicly listed and 165,882 with detailed financials available on 21 June 2012. [For full definition of coverage: see Help -> Orbis User Guide -> Data details -> Coverage - Company size categories (we subscribe to Very large companies - VL). For latest numbers: see Help -> Coverage.]
Tips from our Bureau van Dijk representative (http://twitter.com/MBSLibrary/status/215054416955457536):
- The Help link (top right) gives access to the user guide, which has function and data definitions, a set of quick tour videos, tips of the day and what’s new.
- The spanner symbol indicates that you can modify the list format to include just the variables that you require and then export the results as a spreadsheet. You can also choose to have absolute rather than relative years.
- In the Directors / Managers / Contacts session of a company report, you can select an individual to get details of all their positions.
- In the shareholders and subsidiaries sections of a company report, you get the data on where a company fits within the overall corporate group. Selecting Report format -> Ownership report gives this in text and an ownership structure diagram.
- The web interfaces of FAME and Orbis are very similar so once you know one you can easily use them both.
The Orbis screenshot above shows results from a search for scheduled airlines worldwide. The options to change the columns displayed are highlighted, e.g. the operating revunue for 2010 has been added. The highlighted result is for the company Virgin Atlantic Airlines Limited which is a subsidiary of Virgin Group Holdings Limited – both private companies.
A key feature of FAME and Orbis is that they cover both public (quoted) and private companies. Their target market is to help in the identification of companies who might be your customer, supplier, or even employer.
If you are researching public (quoted) companies then you should also consider the databases that cover these companies from a financial market perspective, e.g. Bloomberg, Datastream, Thomson Research, Thomson One Banker. (See previous post Company Financial Analysis.)
Following a diamond jubilee theme we describe how you might find UK companies that have been publicly listed for 60 years.
This illustrates how it can be difficult to find just the data you want even if you use several databases.
Using FAME we can search for UK companies that are active and listed (quoted on the london stock exchange). To restrict my result set I added a constraint that the companies should have an incorporation date between 21/04/1916 and 21/04/1936. This gave a total of 68 companies. (See previous post How to research UK company data for more on FAME)
The problem with this list is that it includes companies that are currently listed, while I want to find out companies that have been listed since June 1952. Ideally, I would just go to Thomson Reuters Datastream and get the UK companies with a base date (BDATE) around June 1952. Unfortunately, Datastream only has data from December 1964. Its earliest BDATE for UK companies is 30/12/1964 as this is when Datastream starts its coverage of the UK market.
- SAINSBURY (J) [or J Sainsbury PLC in FAME] incorporated 10/Nov/1922 but only listed in 1973
- INVENSYS [Invensys PLC] incorporated 01/Apr/1920 but only listed in 1972
- THORNTONS [Thorntons PLC] incorporated 13/May/1921 but only listed in 1988
To go back further than Dec 1964, I can go to the specialist research database LSDP (London Share Price Database). In fact this only goes back to Jan 1955 – not quite June 1952 but a lot closer than Dec 1964. LSPD does not have a web interface so without programming I have to lookup companies indivdually. (See earlier post Finding UK listed companies – try LSPD)
This highlights the number of long-lived companies that have changed their names, sometimes as a result of mergers.
- ASSOCIATED BRIT.FOODS was originally Allied Bakeries (1955 – 1960)
- REXAM was originally Bowater Corp. (1955 – 1984)
- COOKSON GROUP was originally Goodlass Wall and Lead Industries (1955 – 1967)
- DAILY MAIL ‘A’ is Daily Mail & General Trust (1955 – ) in LSPD
The different names are a reminder that different databases can use slightly different names for the same company. This along with name changes is why company and financial databases use a company identifier (company id) to uniquely identify company information.
To progress further I would have to decide how to handle companies that had merged during their 60+ years as public companies. To use LSPD more I would have to brush up on my programming skills, or I could revise my ambition and decide that going back to 1965 and using Datastream is sufficient.
FAME, from Bureau van Dijk, provides financials for all UK and Irish registered companies from their accounts filed with companies house. It covers public (quoted) and private companies: over 2.8 million active companies and 4.2 inactive companies on 05 June 2012. FAME provides: registered office, website, phone number, size, main activity, key financials (up to 10 years), directors, current subsidiaries, and current shareholders (including controlling shareholders and GUO (Global Ultimate Owner)).
FAME supports searching for companies by a wide set of criteria including name, location, industry, ownership structure, financials, and when the information has been updated. [Note: for small companies very limited information is available because they only have to report limited information with companies house.]
For more details on using FAME see the Library guides (look for FAME in Database guides section) and the online video guides [Home - Help - Quick tour].
KeyNote is best know as a UK market research database providing reports on a wide range of industrial and consumer based products. However KeyNote company information can be used to research and analyse companies and people. It covers more than 7 million UK companies.
KeyNote company information provides:
- Company search by name (or company number)
- People search for company directors and shareholders
- List builder – select from key search criteria to create a list of companies, add additional output fields if required, and export your spreasheet of results
KeyNote also produces Business Ratio Reports and a UKplc report, based on 22 industry sectors and 141 industries.
KeyNote does not offer the flexibility of FAME when it comes to search criteria and defining your own output format, but its simpler interface is easy to use and it does offer UK company and market research information in a single database.
Public/Quoted UK companies
If you are only researching public UK companies then you may want to consider other databases that cover public companies worldwide, e.g. Bloomberg, Datastream, Thomson Research, Thomson One Banker. See previous post on Company Financial Analysis.
Industry or sector codes are a useful resource for identifying the companies in an industry. SIC (Standard Industry Codes) are the most common, but SIC does come in US and UK variants so some care is needed. In addition, companies have a primary SIC code (their largest area of business) and other secondary SIC codes.
Below is a FAME screenshot looking for UK supermarkets – the UK SIC code 5211 is used by most except Asda which uses 5227. (Since the search is on all SIC codes it picks up companies you would not normally classify as supermarkets.)
Alternative approaches -
Market research reports can be an excellent resource for identifying the key companies in an industry, e.g. for UK supermarkets, Keynote has the Supermarkets 2010 Business Ratio Report.
Share/stock classifications such as the ICB (Industry Classification Benchmark) and the GICS (General Industry Classification Scheme) are used to classify companies from the perspective of investors. For the ICB, supermarkets are in Sector 5330 (Food and Drug Retailers) – remember that this will only identify quoted companies so UK companies in this sector will not include Asda which is a subsidiary of the US co Wal-Mart.
For details of the various industry classification codes see FAQ answer:
For useful links on industry information:
- Where do I find industry statistics and reports?
- Where can I find specialised industry market research?
Overall, if you want to identify quoted companies based on their investment sector this is fairly straightforward. If you want to identify companies based on their operations, industry codes are a good start but you probably want to cross-check using other resources.
The MBS Library Service provides access to key resources and databases which can assist you with your job search, interview preparation and Career development plan.
Find publications relating to your career developemnt eg. Managing your career, CV/Interview preparation and tips on networking techniques, via the Library Catalogue.
Company Research Databases
Use the databases located in the “Databases” section of the Library’s “E-Resources” page to:
- Target Listings of UK/International companies
- Locate details of top companies in specific sectors
- Research latest company developments
- Identify and create target sector lists for UK/International companies
- Establish top companies/key competitors in specific markets/sectors
- Examine and Compare Financial performance of companies
- Analyse a company’s performance against key competitors
- Examine Corporate structures, board members and key contacts
Research Company News and Developments: Access FACTIVA
- Enhance your background knowledge for applications and interviews
- Examine latest company/industry developments from leading global news and trade publications
- Examine the impact of the latest political/economic events on companies/industries
- Up to 20 years of news updated daily
Other Library Databases
- Research Market Analysis – Access Mintel, Keynote, Passport GMID, Frost and Sullivan, providing detailed tailored analysis for international and consumer markets . See the “Markets and Sectors” section of the Library Databases page.
- Create Company/Industry Capsules – Access Business Source Premier (Business Searching Interface) providing brief company/industry snapshots for key international companies and markets. See the “Management Literature” section of the Library Databases page.
Specialist Databases: Access BLOOMBERG (available for use within the Eddie Davies Library)
- Locate essential data within the “Bloomberg Careers Centre”
- Provides the Facility to search for Jobs/Recruiters by region
- Details upcoming Job Related Events
- Lists latest Job Postings
Additional Sources: VAULT (Online Careers Portal)
In addition to the Library databases on offer, MBS students have access to an online careers portal via their own career service. Vault provides:
- Online career development guides
- Occupational profiles
- Articles and online videos offering career/personal development advice.
To access Vault contact your University Careers Service adviser
Further Information on how to find, access and search any of the library databases detailed within this guide can be found on the Library’s E-Resources page.
The Library is providing a season of Open Training programmes over the Summer including sessions in July on Targeting and Researching Potential Employers
A detailed guide which expands further on the information provided above is also available via the Library Web-site.